The sleepy hamlet of Nuwara Eliya was bursting at the seams with the flood of visitors who seemed to pour in over the New Year weekend. It was a beehive of activities and resonated to the sound of music and celebration.
In the thick of things and by far the most popular attraction was the Royal Turf Club, home of one of the most picturesque racecourses in the world. You wouldn’t be far off the mark in thinking that virtually all roads seemed to be converging on Little England as Nuwara Eliya is popularly called. But what you could say with total conviction was that on the morning of Sunday April 16, every road inside Nuwara Eliya seemed drawn into the Royal Turf Club and the racecourse was like a magnet attracting hordes never seen before.
They had everything to look forward to. To start with, the Royal Turf Club had put up what must surely, it’s most competitive race day ever, seven races with 46 horses competing for honours with the piece de resistance being the RTC MAGIC MILLION CUP. The winner is heralded as Nuwara Eliya’s Equine Millionaire of 2017. Gracing the day’s proceedings as chief guest was the Minister for International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe. The guest of honour was Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara.
And it wasn’t just the equine breed that had the adrenaline pumping. Misty the ever popular band had the crowd grooving and on their feet, while Deepthika Jayakody’s sensational Fascinators featured as part of an incredible fashion show that was the cynosure of all eyes. Each of the Fascinators was designed and executed with the Deepthika Jayakody touch.
A Pony Raffle was also held the proceeds of which are to be used partially for developing the infrastructure of racing as well as helping a series of charities and proved to be hugely popular, with the crowds contributing generously.
RTC’s Magic Million saw an exciting close finish at the wire where both the top contenders Alcazaba and Mehran fought it out hammer and tongs till the winning post.
But of course, Mehran had to win it again in the Stewards Room as Jockey Aneel the rider of Alcazaba placed second by the Judge lodged an objection against Jockey Imran Khan the rider of Meheran and was therefore placed first by the Judge. The objection was filed on the grounds.
The objection lodged by Jockey Aneel, rider of Alcazaba against Jockey Imran Khan, rider of Meheran claimed that Jockey Aneel’s mount Alcazaba was hit on the face by Jockey A. Imran Khan, rider of Meheran, on top of the straight which cost him the race.
After viewing the CCTV footage,the Stipendiary Stewards at no stage felt that Jockey A. Imran Khan had hit Alcazaba on the face, hence the objection was overruled.
The Stipendiary Stewards on receiving the objection immediately asked the Senior Vet Dr. J. Thangaraj to examine the mare Acazaba for any injuries on the face. He examined the Mare and declared that there were no evident marks or marks on Alcazaba’s face.
The Stipendiary Stewards then interviewed both the jockeys namely Aneel and Imran Khan. After taking into account their respective submissions and viewing the video footage which was made available it was decided to overrule the objection. The decision to overrule the objection was unanimous.